How Getting Started Without the Intention of Finishing Can Help Us… Finish

I use this hack all. The. Time. 

I’ve talked before about structuring my time to maximize energy and trying to deal with procrastination by realizing that it’s more a matter of not wanting to feel whatever that task makes me feel, but sometimes I also procrastinate because I know the task is going to take longer than I want it to. Or, to be honest, I just *don’t* want to do it.

What I’ve begun doing is give myself permission to start without finishing, and it’s been life-changing. 

Here’s the thing: 99% of the time, once I have started, I’m going to finish. But even if I don’t, okay. I just repeat that process again until I’m done, and save myself a lot of stress and avoidance in the process. Stress management for me isn’t just about the big things, but about all those small things that nag at me. The longer I put something off, the longer that voice continues. Ultimately, there is one way to stop that voice – just start.

This works REALLY well for me when it comes to sort of trivial home things like loading or unloading the dishwasher, dealing with laundry, etc. This also works well for me when it comes to working out. Even though I KNOW I’ll feel better when it’s done, there are days I procrastinate the process because sometimes it all feels like a lot. But breaking it down into bite-size pieces and giving myself permission to just go one step at a time has made an enormous difference.

I also use this with bigger tasks at hand – those things that feel just… super overwhelming. When we have big goals, we have to start knowing that we won’t “finish” right then. And this mindset also helps with that because it can be daunting to take steps toward something that seems so big and far away.

Sometimes we have to trick our own brains, you know?

And since life is a FRIENDS episode, this is reminiscent of Chandler trying to run away from getting married because it seemed so…. big. So Ross had him take things one step at a time. It wasn’t about starting to end up at the alter – it was just about the next step in the process until the very last step was the thing that seemed so daunting to begin with. 

Okay my friends, I hope this helps. 

Remember, it’s okay to start something and not finish right away. 

Any step forward is a step nonetheless. And instead of beating ourselves up for what we didn’t get done, let’s celebrate the small wins. 

Let’s stop discounting our efforts as a result of unrealistic expectations for ourselves. 





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